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Running Background:

I consider myself an intermediate runner and I primarily run for fitness. I decided to run a marathon because I ran the Lost Dutchman in '07 and wanted to tackle the course again to see if I could improve my time and get closer to my goal of qualifying for Boston.

Training:

I trained for 8 months following training tips and parts of various programs that I've compiled over the years. I made sure to include adequate hill and speed work. Plus, I had run a marathon the Oct prior, so I was trying to maintain that fitness too.

The best training advice that I received is that you only get faster by running faster. :)

The worst advice I have come across is that you should avoid running in the cold because it will make you sick.

Race Day:

The 2008 Lost Dutchman Marathon was better than expected. This race does not disappoint!! The course is so beautiful that no matter how your body may feel afterward, you'll be grateful you took on the task of this marathon. I will participate each year until I am physical unable. :)

The peace and calm that you find running through the desert at sunrise is unmatched! The start is unique, organized and well put together. There are cozy little bonfires, complete with rugs to sit down on so you don't get dirty, and even a coffee/bagel stand. Also, the volunteers seem truly excited to see you and eager to serve.

The course is not flat, but the hills are rolling and manageable. The scenery takes your mind off that anyway and if I wasn't so interested in improving my time, I would have packed a camera. :) The finish is fun with lots of spectators to cheer you in, a very cool finisher medal, egg burritos in the food line, plenty of massage therapists, and prompt awards and fun prizes. Plus, all the throw away clothes I dropped at mile 4, magically appeared in a section near my drop off bag!

I can't say enough about how great this event is. If you're looking for a break from the huge "shoulder to shoulder" events through congested big cities, come to Lost Dutchman.

Recovery:

My recovery wasn't bad. I made sure my on course nutrition was adequate--water, gels, sports drink--and immediately ate, drank, and stretched well following the finish.

Running Gear Recommendations:

Fuel Belt
I never enter a training run without being prepared for my nutrition.
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Injinji Toe Socks
I wear these for any runs beyond 10 mi. No toe chafing for me!
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Garmin Forerunner 301/205/305/405
I can monitor my pace, miles, and even check the map of my run if I'm disoriented on a trail. :)
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Tips/Words of Encouragement:

I'm not an expert runner, by any means, but I think anyone can complete a marathon. Getting prepared is all about creating a habit, being consistent, and giving yourself enough time. Start by counting minutes, not miles, walk if you need to, and don't be afraid to set a more challenging goal.

Plans to Run Another:

I'm still choosing one for early fall (a flat one so I can ensure shaving off the 8 minutes I need to for Boston), then I'll run the Tucson Marathon in Dec, Lost Dutchman again in Feb '09; and Boston--God willing--in April. I run marathons now because God has given me the ability to do so. Through that, I think I pass on lessons of commitment, endurance and perseverance.

For my next marathon, I'll get in more speed workouts! I think my legs will only do what they've tried before. :)

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